Maple Ridge bylaws removes squatters from rural property on 224th

Police and bylaws removed a homeless camp from a rural property on 224th Street Tuesday.

Squatters were given three days notice before RCMP and bylaws arrived.

Squatters were given three days notice before RCMP and bylaws arrived.

Police and bylaws removed a homeless camp from a rural property on 224th Street Tuesday.

That left one of the people staying on the premises wondering where he was supposed to go next?

“Are we supposed to head to tent city,” said Joe Madore.

He and his wife had been living in the barn on the 17-acre property at 129th Avenue for two months and was paying a lady $250 a month to do so.

“As far as we were concerned, everything was legitimate,” Madore said.

“We were told we could stay there in the barn. The next thing we know, we’re getting thrown out today.”

Clean-up crews arrived with an excavator. At least one car was removed along with an RV and tools and garbage.

According to Maple Ridge bylaws director Liz Holitzki, a woman brought her trailer on to the property, unbeknownst to the actual owners, who live in Vancouver.

Over time, the woman started bringing people on to the site, but she had no right to be on the property, Holitzki added.

If it wasn’t for complaints from the neighbours about the mess and about people and coming and going from the premises, bylaws wouldn’t have known.

“We spent two days cleaning the property up,” said Holitzki.

She said the owner agreed to the city’s cleanup action and accepts the cost will be added on to the yearly property taxes.

The city also will put gates blocking vehicle access to the driveway, at the owner’s expense.

“It’s the only way to keep that sort of thing from happening.”

The people living on the property were given three days notice of the clean-up, she added.

She didn’t know how many people were actually living on the privately owned property and said it’s not a common occurrence in Maple Ridge.

“The owners were quite shocked that anybody would just go on their property and live there.”

Holitzki said staff were trying to give people ideas about where to go, but said there are not many options.